3 Interior Dimensions Tall Drivers Should Care About
When you’re shopping for a vehicle, there are two ways to size up the contenders.
The first way is to compare the interior dimensions. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but comparing them will help you to prioritize your test driving. It might also open your eyes to some models that you hadn’t considered beforehand.
The second way is to evaluate how the space in a vehicle’s interior is used. But I’ll save that for another post.
So which numbers are important? Here are the interior dimensions that I compare when evaluating vehicles.
Head room is measured from the seat to the ceiling of the vehicle.
Personally, head room the last thing that I want to compromise. I don’t like discomfort in my legs, but I really don’t like ducking or crooking my head to the side just to drive.
Head room is also at a premium. The swooping curves of modern designs tend to make life hard on drivers with a long torso.
Hip room describes the width of the seat.
For the skinny ones among you, this metric probably doesn’t matter that much. But for those of you with a bigger rear end or wide hips, you should pay attention to hip room.
Narrow seats don’t seem like a big deal at first, particularly in small SUVs where it seems like you have some room for your knees to wander laterally. But narrow seats, in my opinion, produce a discomfort that you’ll notice the most when you’re driving for more than an hour at a time.
A majority of my posts deal with tall drivers, so for the most part you’ll only see “front hip room” used. Rear hip room applies to the width of the rear seat cushion.
Leg room seems like the most commonly sought after interior dimension. It’s also the most controversial one.
You see, there are two standards for measuring leg room. The first is to measure leg room with the seat I’m a fully extended position. The second is to measure with the seat in fully forward position.
A vehicle could be measured to either standard, so comparing front leg room (which I once did) isn’t always a fair comparison.
There’s also an obvious incentive to measure front leg room using one standard over the other.
For that reason, I began comparing total leg room instead of front and rear.
You’re going to compromise somehow.
I think there are probably few cars that have a wealth of leg, hip and head room. Most of the cars that I driven either have none of those things, or require a compromise.
You might wind up with a vehicle that has tons of head room and leg room, but the seats are narrow and uncomfortable. Numbers aside, there are plenty of ways that any vehicle could be a bad fit for a bigger driver.
In the comments, let your fellow tall drivers know which metrics are most important to you.
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee